Bettina von Arnim
Bettina von Arnim (4 April 1785, Frankfurt am Main – 20 January 1859, Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

), born Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano, was a German writer and novelist.

Bettina (as well: Bettine) Brentano was a writer, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist, an illustrator, patron of young talent, and a social activist. She was the archetype of the Romantic era’s zeitgeist
Zeitgeist is "the spirit of the times" or "the spirit of the age."Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.The...

 and the crux of many creative relationships of canonical artistic figures. Best known for the company she kept, she numbered among her closest friends Goethe, Beethoven, and Pückler
Hermann von Pückler-Muskau
Prince was a German nobleman, who was an excellent artist in landscape gardening and wrote widely appreciated books, mostly about his travels in Europe and Northern Africa, published under the pen name of "Semilasso".- Life :He was born at Muskau Castle in Upper Lusatia, then ruled by...

 and tried to foster artistic agreement among them. Many leading composers of the time, including Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann, sometimes known as Robert Alexander Schumann, was a German composer, aesthete and influential music critic. He is regarded as one of the greatest and most representative composers of the Romantic era....

, Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt ; ), was a 19th-century Hungarian composer, pianist, conductor, and teacher.Liszt became renowned in Europe during the nineteenth century for his virtuosic skill as a pianist. He was said by his contemporaries to have been the most technically advanced pianist of his age...

, Johanna Kinkel
Johanna Kinkel
Johanna Kinkel was a German composer, writer, and revolutionary.Kinkel was born in Bonn. In 1840, after five months of unhappy marriage, she was divorced from the Cologne bookseller Matthieux. Her second marriage, in 1843, was to the German poet Gottfried Kinkel. They had four children...

, and Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

, admired her spirit and talents. As a composer, von Arnim's style was unconventional, molding and melding favorite folk melodies and historical themes with innovative harmonies, phrase lengths, and improvisations that became synonymous with the music of the era.

Family and early life

Bettina von Arnim was closely related to the German writers Clemens Brentano
Clemens Brentano
Clemens Brentano, or Klemens Brentano was a German poet and novelist.-Overview:He was born in Ehrenbreitstein, near Koblenz, Germany. His sister was Bettina von Arnim, Goethe's correspondent. His father's family was of Italian descent. He studied in Halle and Jena, afterwards residing at...

 and Achim von Arnim: the first was her brother, the second her husband. Her daughter Gisela von Arnim
Gisela von Arnim
Gisela von Arnim was a German writer, mainly of fairy tales.Gisela was the youngest child of Achim and Bettina von Arnim. She was not formally educated, being taught only by her sisters. In her youth she read fairy tales and Romantic poetry, especially the works of Wilhelm Hauff, and began to...

 became a prominent writer as well.

Bettina was born in Frankfurt on Main, Germany, on April 4, 1785, into the large family of an Italian merchant. Her grandmother, Sophie von La Roche
Sophie von La Roche
Maria Sophie von La Roche was a German novelist. She was born in Kaufbeuren and died in Offenbach am Main.-Biography:...

, was a novelist, and her brother was Clemens Brentano, the great poet known for his lyric poems, libretti, and singspielen. He was a mentor and protector to her and inspired her to read the poetry of the time, especially Goethe.

After being educated at a Ursulines
The Ursulines are a Roman Catholic religious order for women founded at Brescia, Italy, by Saint Angela de Merici in November 1535, primarily for the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy. Their patron saint is Saint Ursula.-History:St Angela de Merici spent 17 years leading a...

 convent school in Fritzlar
Fritzlar is a small German town in the Schwalm-Eder district in northern Hesse, north of Frankfurt, with a storied history. It can reasonably be argued that the town is the site where the Christianization of northern Germany began and the birthplace of the German empire as a political entity.The...

 from 1794 to 1797, Bettina lived for a while with her grandmother at Offenbach am Main and from 1803 to 1806 with her brother-in-law, Friedrich von Savigny, the famous jurist, at Marburg
Marburg is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany, on the River Lahn. It is the main town of the Marburg-Biedenkopf district and its population, as of March 2010, was 79,911.- Founding and early history :...

. In 1807 at Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

 she made the acquaintance of Goethe, for whom she entertained a significant passion, which the poet did not requite, though he entered into correspondence with her. Their friendship came to an abrupt end in 1811, owing to Bettina's behaviour with Goethe's wife.

In 1811 Bettina married Achim von Arnim, the renowned Romantic poet. The couple settled near Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

 and had seven children. Achim died in 1831, but Bettina maintained an active public life. Her passion for Goethe revived, and in 1835, after lengthy discussions with the writer and landscape gardener Hermann von Pückler-Muskau
Hermann von Pückler-Muskau
Prince was a German nobleman, who was an excellent artist in landscape gardening and wrote widely appreciated books, mostly about his travels in Europe and Northern Africa, published under the pen name of "Semilasso".- Life :He was born at Muskau Castle in Upper Lusatia, then ruled by...

 she published her book, Goethes Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde, which purported to be a correspondence between herself and the poet. She continued to write, inspire, and publish until January 20, 1859, when she died surrounded by her children.

From 1991 until 31 December 2001, her portrait was printed on the German 5-Mark bill.


During the years of 1806 to 1808, von Arnim helped gather the folk songs that comprised Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Des Knaben Wunderhorn is a collection of German folk poems edited by Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano, and published in Heidelberg, in the Grand Duchy of Baden, between 1805 and 1808...

, the collaborative work of her brother and her future husband, Achim von Arnim, later put to music by Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

. The collection became a touchstone of the Romantic musical and poetic style. From 1808 to 1809 she studied voice, composition, and piano in Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

 under Peter von Winter and Sebastian Bopp. She published her first song under the pseudonym Beans Beor, which she occasionally used later as well. Bettina sang briefly in the Berliner Singakademie and composed settings of Hellenistic poems by Amalie von Helvig.

Though domestic duties connected to her 1811 marriage to von Arnim diminished her productivity, several art songs from the period have been recovered and have been published in Werke und Briefe. Von Arnim was the first composer to set the poet Hölderlin’s
Friedrich Hölderlin
Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin was a major German lyric poet, commonly associated with the artistic movement known as Romanticism. Hölderlin was also an important thinker in the development of German Idealism, particularly his early association with and philosophical influence on his...

 work to music.

She was a muse
The Muses in Greek mythology, poetry, and literature, are the goddesses who inspire the creation of literature and the arts. They were considered the source of the knowledge, related orally for centuries in the ancient culture, that was contained in poetic lyrics and myths...

 to the progressives of Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

, linked to the socialist movement and an advocate for the oppressed Jewish community. She published two politically dissident works but evaded chastisement because of her friendship with the King of Prussia
King of Prussia
King of Prussia may refer to:* A ruler of the former German state of Prussia**List of rulers of Prussia* Place names** King of Prussia, Pennsylvania* Shopping Centers** King of Prussia Mall...


After the 1831 death of her husband, Bettina continued her dedication to the creative community. She published a collection of seven songs in public support of Prussian music director Gaspare Spontini
Gaspare Spontini
Gaspare Luigi Pacifico Spontini was an Italian opera composer and conductor, extremely celebrated in his time, though largely forgotten after his death.-Biography:...

, under duress at the time.


  • Briefwechsel mit einem Kinde, 1835 (Correspondence with a Child – English translation)
  • Die Günderode, 1840 (a fictionalized correspondence with her friend, the poet Karoline von Günderode [1780-1806])
  • Dies Buch gehört dem König, 1843
  • Clemens Brentanos Frühlingskranz, 1844
  • Ilius Pamphilius und die Ambrosia, 1848
  • An die aufgelöste Preußische Nationalversammlung, 1849
  • with Gisela von Arnim: Das Leben der Hochgräfin Gritta von Rattenzuhausbeiuns, 1840
  • Bettine von Arnim/Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, »Die Leidenschaft ist der Schlüssel zur Welt«. Briefwechsel 1832-1844, complete edition with commentary by Enid Gajek and Bernhard Gajek, Cotta, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-7681-9809-X


The German-American settlement of Bettina in the state of Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

 was founded in 1847 and named by its progressive, idealistic founders after Bettina von Arnim. Located near the joint of Elm Creek and the Llano River
Llano River
The Llano River is a tributary of the Colorado River, approximately 105 mi long, in central Texas in the United States. It drains part of the Edwards Plateau in Texas Hill Country northwest of Austin....

, it lasted only a year. No trace of the Bettina community survives, though two of its three founders, Gustav Schleicher
Gustav Schleicher
Gustav Schleicher was a German-born Democratic United States Representative from Texas. He was an engineer who served briefly in the Texas legislature, and was a veteran of the Confederate Army.-Early life:Schleicher was born in Darmstadt in the German principality of Hesse in 1823...

--later a U.S. congressman and namesake of Schleicher County--and Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig Herff
Ferdinand Ludwig Herff
Ferdinand Ludwig Herff was a 19th Century German-born physician who emigrated to Texas and became a medical pioneer in San Antonio. He was one of the co-founders of the Bettina commune...

, who in 1854 became the first surgeon to use anesthesia
Anesthesia, or anaesthesia , traditionally meant the condition of having sensation blocked or temporarily taken away...

 in Texas, subsequently became prominent. The community's third founder was Hermann Spiess
Hermann Spiess
Hermann Spiess was co-founder of the Bettina, Texas commune in 1847. He became Commissioner-General of the Adelsverein after the resignation of John O. Meusebach.-Early life:...


Part of von Arnim's design for a colossal statue of Goethe, executed in marble by the sculptor Karl Steinhauser (1813–1878), was displayed in the museum at Weimar in 1911.
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.